2011 Disney Marathon Runners Donate More Than 7 Tons of Clothes


Participants in the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend have helped thousands of local public school youth across Central Florida. Almost 25,000 warm clothing items collected by Disney, will be distributed to those in need through Orange County and Osceola County Public Schools and other Central Florida non–profit organizations.

Typically runners, including myself, bundle up in layers prior to the marathon and half marathon to brace against the cold morning air. As we run and warm up, we shed the items along the 26.2-mile and 13.1 mile courses. Approximately 14,696 pounds of clothing was deposited for donation during the two weekend runs. All the items were laundered by Disney textile services before giving them to Central Florida charities.

It’s nice to know that somewhere in Florida, my Downers Grove South sweatshirt is helping to keep a public school student warm this winter.

Disney Marathon Weekend 2011 Day 3

I decided to sleep in today after a bit of tossing and turning because of knee pain following the run. I did make a new best friend yesterday and his name is Ironman Muscle Rub Gel. I had never used a product like this since my high school days when Ben Gay was the only player in town. The gel had no nasty smell like Ben Gay did and it had a very nice cooling effect after I applied it on my knees and thighs. I only had to rub a little bit on to ease the aching that I usually get day 2 and day 3 after the run. Last year it was hard to walk around the parks especially after sitting on a ride for a while then getting up to continue on. I saw quite a few ‘shufflers’ at the park the next day (those who had run one of the races and had a bit of trouble walking around).

I did get up in time to see and cheer on many of the runners who where passing by our hotel by the 8:30 mark (they will have finished in just over 3 hours). I stayed out there for about 45 minutes to show some support before we went into the parks for the day. Below is one of the videos I shot on Saturday during the full marathon. The audio a not the best because of the cheering, but I will get in and fix that up once I get back in town.


Disney Marathon 2011–Runners passing in front of Beach Club Resort at mile 24.5


Matt and I went into the parks for a few hours then made our way over to the Bay Lake Towers for a  1pm Disney Vacation Club meeting to see a preview of the Aulani resort they will be opening in Hawaii. We had stopped by the DVC booth in Epcot on Saturday just to say hi and the cast member told us about the preview and signed us up.

On the way to the preview I stopped at the front desk of the Contemporary hotel to see if we could come over to Bay Lake a day early and leave Beach club a day early. The manager on duty said there was availability and the we cold make the switch from a 1 bedroom to a studio for both nights with out a problem. the only problem was there was a bit of a language barrier and I had to explain what I wanted to do three times before she understood. She then said she could not make the change and that she had to call member services to have them do it. I was a bit concerned when I saw her doing children’s puzzles in crayon as she was talking on the phone to them. She finally put me on the phone and they confirmed that they would down grade me to a studio for 2 nights and inform Beach Club that I would be checking out early.

We made it to the preview 2 minutes late because of the difficulty at the front desk, but I put my happy face back on ready to enjoy the DVC gathering. During the preview they had a trivia DVC Trivia contest where they asked questions about the DVC properties, point values and other interesting questions. Matt and I both had a our names draw to win some VIP fast passes that we could use during our stay this week. The VIP passes have three uses loaded into them and you can walk up to any fast pass machine and print out an immediate fast pass to use right then (regular fast passes require you to come back at a later time to use them). The preview lasted about an hour including the tour of the Bay Lake Towers rooms (we had stayed here before so that was no surprise for us). We had a fun time and were now off to test out the fast passes.

Since we were so close to the Magic Kingdom we walked over there from Bay Lake Towers (one of the benefits of that property) and went directly to the big three (Pirates, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain). Pirates and Haunted Mansion were not busy at all (there were only two other people in out boat at Pirates so we did not test the passes till Space Mountain which showed a 50 minute wait time.

We walked up, inserted our VIP cards and the machine treated us to an immediate entry paper fast pass (you still need to hand the paper fast pass to the cast member to get on the ride like any other fast pass). We were on and off the ride in about 15 minutes total. Nice. The rest of the day we just park hopped and tried to do some things we don’t normally do.


Tomorrow, more Disney magic and Ironman gel for my knees.

Disney Marathon Weekend 2011 Day 2

The Disney Half Marathon 2011 is in the books. I am pretty happy with the performance because even though I did not make my goal time I did PR and cut 13 minutes of my previous time. I f you would like to see the route we ran this morning as well as my splits click on the link below which will take you to the RunKeeper activity from this morning. Add the satellite layer if you want to see the parks we ran through.


The day started at 3am, again, with my trusty Android phone acting as my alarm. I got dressed quickly having laid out the cloths the night before and was out the door by 3:15. As I closed my room door I saw another guy with a bib on (for non runners this is your name and number fastened to your shirt with bobby pins, not a spill protector) and I struck up a conversation. Turns out he was from Lansing Michigan and was running his first Disney race so I filled him in on what to expect leading up to the race. After that it was up to him. Disney tells you that you must be on the bus no later than 4AM so that you have plenty of time to get to your starting corrals ( again a running reference where they line us up in groups for a start in waves, nothing to do with Woody’s Roundup). Once you exit the bus, it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the starting line and get in place.

I had planned on running with the Cliff pace team but they were no where to be found and I discovered later that they had lined up in the corral behind mine. Since I am not a master at pacing so I went out to fast, excitement and all, and ruined the pace. But as I said at least I got a PR (Personal Record) today.

I had talked previously about one of the best motivational moments of the race, that being the full on gospel choir about 300 yards from the finish line, but I experienced another one today. I don’t know if I just missed it last time or f they recently added it, but when we are about to enter Cinderella’s castle running towards main street, up on the balcony outside there were two trumpet players with those 5 or 6 foot long horns, signaling or arrival. Pretty neat, and I must say that the gospel choir got me choked up as it does every year.

I finished up and went to the medical tent to have them wrap my knees in ice and get some Tylenol.
Let me just say that it sucks getting old. Stuff hurts that never hurt before and the hurt takes much longer to go away. Children, don’t waste you youth. But I digress.

We will head into the parks later this morning and I am looking forward to displaying my medal and seeing all the others who are doing so. I is a tradition to wear you medal into the parks post race and the only downside is saying congratulations over and over to all the people I see. And with 27,000 plus entrants I may need to say it quite a bit.

I’m looking forward to next years race and invite anyone who has thought of doing a distance race to contact me for 2012. I would be happy to run with you, or if you are a lot faster than me when can hang out before and after.

Thanks to all the well wishers. I will post pictures as soon as I get them from the course photographers.

Disney Marathon Weekend 2011 Day 1

The day started early with a 2:45 wakeup call from my ringing Android phone. The dogs could not figure out why I would want to get out of bed that early and gave me a strange look before closing their eyes and going back to sleep. The taxi showed up at 3:30 and took Matt and I on a quick quiet trek to Terminal 1 at O’Hare.

2011-01-07_08-28-44_611Instead of the usual United flight that I would take I decided to use my frequent flyer miles on first class seats as Matt had never flown first class before. The upside was that I could get the first class seats on Continental going out and US Airways coming back as I could for coach on United. the bad news was that we had to fly through Houston going out and Charlotte coming back. But that early in the morning we were going to do a bit of sleeping on the plane anyway so what the heck, more time to spend with my son.

He could not believe that we were served real food on real dishes with real silverware, twice (once going to Houston and once going to Orlando). He also was able to get as many drink refills as he wanted and was even offered a drink as soon as he sat down, not having to wait till takeoff. It will be hard for him to go back to coach after this vacation.

We arrived in Orlando at about 12 noon eastern time and jumped on the Disney Magical Express for our ride to the Disney Beach Club Resort. This is the same place we stayed last year and like the central location especially for the marathon weekend. After finishing either of the races, we can just walk right through Epcot back to our hotel instead of waiting for a bus back. (Note that you must have a park pass to get through just like any other visitor.

We checked in to the Beach club which is still 2011-01-07_18-16-54_669decked out in Christmas decorations including an amazing gingerbread carousel in the main lobby, before we took another bus over to Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports for race check in, packet pickup, chip timer testing and my meet up with the Cliff Bar Pace Team who I will be running with tomorrow. this year the check in went very fast and we were in and out and back on the bus within about 35 minutes, back at the hotel within 50 minutes and over to the boardwalk for a late lunch with an hour. Funny enough our waiter at the ESPN zone was from Lombard, so we talk a bit about the Cubs, the Sox and the Bears.


We decided to take it easy tonight and not burn a full days park pass on just a half day. Instead we did our usual tradition of playing catch out on the lawn by the lagoon (guys you are never to old to play catch with your son) and took a walk over to the Epcot back entrance then over to the Hollywood Studios to stretch our legs. One of the other benefits of the Beach Club or the Boardwalk Resort for that matter is that they are situated between both parks so you can walk to then or take a nice boat ride to either.

Well the fireworks just ended at Epcot (we can see the form our balcony) so the means it is bedtime for me. I have a big day ahead of me and I need to start to wind down.

More tomorrow.

Trying to Get Back On Track

wdw2011medalIt has been a tough couple of weeks for me physically. I contracted some type of chest cold like whooping cough, that hung on for 5 weeks straight. That made it very difficult to stay on my training plan for the Disney Half Marathon in January. I was up to 6.5 comfortable miles and was looking forward to pushing on to 8 when that ailment struck.

I was able to get over the chest ting and start up training again, but now I have the flu and only 8 weeks left before the race. I know I can easily finish the half, but I wanted to really enjoy it this time and not struggle through ANY of it.

My lack of sleep is what always seems to bring on the cold and/or flu. At the suggestion of my brother I am going to try Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc tablets before I go to be each night. He swears by them so I figure what do I have to loose and it is better that trying to slurp some Nyquil every night.

What do you do to help you sleep?

Hello everyone and welcome!

Welcome to my world. This is the initial post form my new blog, Run Morgan Run. I decide to take this thing live right before I leave for Florida to run in the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon as I wanted to capture the trip as my first extended attempt at writing. I have never been much of a writer (or at least attempted to be) not since writing for the high school paper. In addition to the writing, I was a photographer for the paper and the music director for the radio station. Both those jobs continue to influence my life today and I wanted to reconnect with writing.

Before I continue, I must give props to Doug Schneider. Doug was a high school friend who was on the radio station with me  and went on to become a successful writer in the New York state area. We recently had a chance to reconnect while he was in town for the holidays and I will be bugging him for advice as I move forward with this new adventure. Doug is the Public Service Editor at Press & Sun-Bulletin (Gannett Central NY Newspaper Group).

Back to my reason for this blog. As the name of this blog suggests, I am a runner. I started running almost two years ago as a way to stay healthy and set and achieve some concrete goals (you can’t cheat running goals. If you don’t put in the time, it really hurts on race day). I wanted to track my progress as I train for and participate in races, local and not so local.  So far I have done 5K’s, 10K’s Half Marathon and this Sunday my first Full Marathon. I plan on getting involved in Triathlons as well in the coming year.

So this blog will track my progress with those and other activities I like to participate in as well as commentary on my daughters volleyball career (traveling volleyball is a part time career for the parents as well), travels for my day job (Service Management Project Manager) and other things I want to try.

So, thanks for visiting and please bear with me as I attempt to get better at this and at least make it interesting.

Daniel Morgan